Thompson-Herah leads host of Olympic champions to Diamond League glory

By Luke PHILLIPS
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah. ©AFP

Zurich (AFP) - Jamaican sprint queen Elaine Thompson-Herah led a host of Olympic champions to glory in an action-packed Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday, just a month after the end of the Tokyo Games.

Thompson-Herah crowned what she called an "amazing" season by scorching to victory in the 100m in a meet record of 10.65sec, finishing ahead of Britain's Dina Asher-Smith (10.87) at the iconic Letzigrund Stadium.

"It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one.I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity," said the second fastest female sprinter ever.

"This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind."

Asher-Smith had a quick turnaround as she doubled up in the 200m, but the winner of that race in a rapid, world under-20 record of 21.78sec was the ever-improving Namibian teenager Christine Mboma, barred from competing in events between 400m and the mile because of unusually high testosterone levels.

Another star from Tokyo, Norway's Karsten Warholm, made his first outing in the 400m hurdles since setting a sensational world record of 45.94sec when winning gold.

The Norwegian, a two-time world champion, went out hard over the first eight hurdles and eventually held on for victory in 47.35sec from Brazil's Alison Dos Santos.

"I just want to go back to training -- that's what I love to do, and what I've got to do, but it's also going to be very nice to have a break from competition," said Warholm.

Also a world record setter in Tokyo, Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas wrapped up the women's triple jump with a best of 15.48m, and fellow Olympic gold medallist Pedro Pichardo of Portugal claimed the men's trophy (17.70m).

Rojas ended her season with the most 15m jumps in one season (16) and now owns six of the top seven jumps in history.

"This year I was able to jump 15 metres fairly easily, and I hope next year I am in an even better shape, and to continue to enjoying being out here on the field," said Rojas, who like all winners bagged $30,000 in prize money.

Duplantis soars

Sweden's Armand Duplantis also set a meet record (6.06m) for victory in the pole vault, sending the 20,000-strong crowd wild as he had three attempts at bettering his own world record of 6.18m.

One of the most highly-anticipated races was the women's 1500m, and it did not disappoint.

Kenya's Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon held on in a brutal final straight sprint to beat Ethiopian-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who had taken bronze in the event in Tokyo along with two golds in an unprecedented treble.

"This year I struggled with my training, I could not go to the US," she said."Next year, I will train my speed and I will be amazing."

Timothy Cheruiyot made sure of a Kenyan double after holding on to pip Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway in a winning time of 3:31.37 to reverse their 1-2 positions in Tokyo.

Ingebrigtsen said he was happy the season was over."I am really happy with what I did in Tokyo," he said.

"It is tough to go into races afterwards.So I am just happy to be done with this season and looking forward to the world championships next year."

USA bag eight trophies

In the absence of Italy's Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Fred Kerley stormed to 100m victory in 9.87sec over Canada's Andre de Grasse in a repeat of the fight for second and third places in Tokyo.

De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champion, was then edged by Kenny Bednarek (19.70) in that event as US athletes bagged eight of the 32 trophies on offer.

Tokyo champion Valarie Allman won the discus, while Michael Cherry and Quanera Hayes took the 400m trophies, and Devon Allen trumped Olympic gold medallist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica in the men's 110m hurdles.

There was no such luck, however, for their teammate Katie Nageotte, who no marked in the pole vault and could only watch as Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia, silver medallist in Tokyo, became just the fourth woman over the 5m barrier won with a world-leading best of 5.01m.

Other Olympic champions with no hangover were Sweden's Daniel Stahl in the men's discus, Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi in the high jump and Kenya's Emmanuel Korir in the 800m.

But neither Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali nor Uganda's Peruth Chemutai could double up in the 3000m steeplechases, Kenya pulling off an impressive double through Benjamin Kigen and Norah Jeruto respectively.

Christin Hussong and Johannes Vetter also doubled up for Germany in the javelin.


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